We can all learn from other industries.
Yesterday I went to watch the Rugby League.
Which is way out west in Sydney.
It’s kind of like Dodge City.
It’s a long story, but my mother’s father, my grandfather, retired into Penrith, so as young men my brother and I used to go to the footy with him.
And I’ve kept going ever since.
In fact I’ve been a season ticket holder at Penrith since 1978.
So today I headed out for the afternoon to watch the Panthers play.
It’s an expedition. You see we live a good hour’s drive and some sixty kilometres from the Panthers’ home ground.
What surprised me today when I went out to watch the Penrith Panthers play the Gold Coast Titans was that the Panthers Club had taken a leaf out of another industry’s book, when it comes to Customer Service.
And what was nice about what they’d done was that to me, as a Customer Service Aficionado, was that it was unexpected, and yet very welcomed.
So here’s what they did.
At the entrance gate today for members [season ticket holders] there was a red carpeted and roped off area for the members to enter separately from the other match attendees.
Kind of like the Priority Line for airline travellers who travel up the pointy end of the plane.
And to me this was very pleasant recognition.
Because it was a way of saying to those who have invested in the team for the year, by purchasing a season ticket, it was a way of saying;
And it felt nice, and it felt special, just to walk the Red Carpet and to have the special entrance.
And not to have to line up.
The bag search on security seemed a little more relaxed than usual in this entrance, kind of like the way that TSA Pre-Check Approval allows you to fly in the USA without having to take out your laptop and without having to remove your shoes.
I felt trusted.
Once at the entrance gate I was greeted by a lady with a handheld scanner who scanned my season ticket barcode [which was on a lanyard around my neck] and I was on my way and in.
What was so different here was that at the other gates there were fixed scanners that were used for scanning hand held tickets but were really awkward to maneuver to for those who wore the lanyards.
So how simple was that then to solve the problem of being a contortionist, that previously existed?
Now I’m not sure if the Penrith Panthers team “borrowed” these two ideas from another Rugby league club, or from the soccer or from the Australian Rules Football.
What mattered most to me was that they had borrowed these ideas from somewhere and had brought them to Penrith where they’d been sadly missing before.
Now the question needs to be asked are these “red carpet” procedures being wasted on the common working folk of Penrith?
Are the regular followers of the Panthers being spoilt in this instance?
For me, the answer is “No”.
For me, every little bit of extra makes for me to feel special.
Mary Kaye Ash said it best.
She said that everybody out there is walking around with a large invisible sign around their necks, which reads:
“Make me feel important.”
Today at Pepper Stadium, home of the Panthers, as a member, as a long time supporter, I was made to feel important.
What are you doing differently in your Dental Office that your patients and customers will notice compared to last time they were in?
Where’s your version of the barcode scanner?
Are your patients having to play contortionist in an effort to jump through your dental hoops?
And where’s your red carpet?
Are your patients feeling the warmth and the love from you?
Are your patients being made to feel that red carpet experience?
If a fifty-year-old football team can make their fans and their players feel special in these more difficult times, then ask yourself this then?
Ask yourself what sort of services will you allow to make your service more enjoyable, and more entertaining for your clients and for your team members?
You see, sometimes I talk to Dentists about rolling out the red carpet for some of their best clients, and there are dentists who are fearful that doing this may cause their practices to lose patients.
At the football I felt honoured and pleased to be considered worthy of a lift in the service with a red carpet.
And in business, if any customer does change merchants because they’ve been made to feel special, then they’ve really proven that they were thought to be in the top twenty percent of that business’s customers under false pretenses.
There’s no reason why we shouldn’t pamper our best clients.
Our best clients accept treatment more readily, schedule it, and keep the appointments.
They refer more people.
Treating these clients better encourages more of these better behaviours.
It’s that simple.
Our regular clients, our back of the plane fliers know that without the people in the pointy end, there’d be a broad increase in fares to compensate for their absence.
It’s the same at the footy.
The long term regulars are there as the backbone of the fan base.
They’re stumping up for a ticket for every game, no matter what, at the start of the season.
That’s a huge emotional AND financial commitment from the die-hard fans.
In the same way, our long-term dental patients are there as the backbone of our patient base.
They trust us, they book ahead for their preventive services, and they willingly refer.
They are our saving graces.
Without the frequent fliers up the front on the airplanes there would be no cheaper travel for those down the back.
There would be no low priced coach or economy class tickets.
The price of coach and economy would rise to compensate for the loss of first class ticket income.
In life, there’ll always be twenty five to thirty percent of the population who will be loyal to their supplier of certain services despite what those suppliers charge.
So long as those customers receive great service, the price will not be relevant.
Be it lawn-mowing, fingernails, hairdressing or dinner.
If we get a good product and great service, then we’re fans!
In this instance, our instance, Dentistry should be no different.
Provided we can keep up the service.
Provided we can keep up that red-carpet service our patients should keep coming back in droves.
If your patients are not returning, then look at your deliverables.
What are you NOT doing for them?
Where are you just doing same-same as all the others?
Where have you failed to deliver on your point of difference?
My upcoming in depth two day workshops will be held in London in August.
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